Bookmark and Share

Open the online Arabic language course

Arabic: bus
Other spellings: Bostra; Busrana; Bozrah; Bozra; Busra


ZOOM - Open a large version of this image

Bosra's ancient theatre.

Ancient ruined town in southern Syria.
Bosra has notable Nabatean, Roman, Byzantine and Muslim monuments. Bosra's monuments are built from local black basalt stone, giving its structures an appearance of being flamed, which is quite different from similar monuments of other regions.
Among Bosra's many fine structures, the Roman theatre is especially remarkable, being one of the largest with a capacity of 15,000, and possibly the best preserved in the world. The theatre was fortified by the Umayyad in the 8th century and turned into a citadel.
Among other monuments, the Roman baths is noted for its preserved roof. The Mosque of Umar from 720 or 721 is the third oldest surviving mosque in the world. The structure stands very close to its original layout, making it extremely valuable in understanding the development of early Islam.
Also Christianity has an important building here, an early 6th century cathedral, which is one of the first in the world to have a dome over its square base.
Bosra's wealth was due to its strategic position along the caravan routes. During Roman times, regional administration and military activities brought great investments to the town.
Bosra is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

14th century BCE: A settlement at the location of Bosra is mentioned in Egyptian documents.
1st century: King Aretas 3 incorporates Bosra as part of the Nabatean kingdom.
70 CE: Bosra becomes new Nabatean capital.
106 CE: All of the Nabatean kingdom is annexed by Rome. A new province, called Arabia, is established with Bosra becomes its new capital, named Nova Trajana Bostra.
Around 580: Muslim tradition tells that the 10-year old Muhammad at Bosra was revealed by a priest to become a prophet.
632: Bosra becomes the first Byzantine city to fall to the advancing Muslim Arabs. Bosra would remain a prominent city, but its importance declined gradually over time.
1260: Bosra razed by Mongol forces.
14th century: Regional conflicts destroy the economic foundations of Bosra; caravan routes were moved west.
Middle 19th century: A major group of Lebanese Druze settles in Bosra, following conflicts in Lebanon.
1947: Reconstruction work begins at Bosra; it would last until 1970.

By Tore Kjeilen